Establishing paternity is crucial for unmarried exes who are trying to assert their parental rights, including visitation, custody, and/or child support. A father has the right to custody and visitation if he is the child’s biological or legal father, and he has the duty and obligation under Arizona law to financially support his child.
Take the first step and call Tempe paternity lawyer Adraina Blanchette today. Call (602) 881-1748 now to schedule your consultation.
In the meantime, keep reading to learn about paternity in Arizona courts and the rights and responsibilities of parents in the state.
As a parent, you should understand your legal options for caring for and keeping your child. Therefore if you need help with parental rights or custody, it is in your best interests to contact a Tempe paternity lawyer.
An experienced attorney can rereview your legal options and work to establish and maintain your parental rights. They can also assist you in preparing the appropriate documentation for formalizing child custody and parental rights by filing documentation with the court, communicating with the other side’s attorney, and mediating a fair resolution.
Contact the Law Office of Adriana Blanchette, PLLC, at (602) 881-1748 to speak with a knowledgeable Arizona family law attorney and certified legal mediator.
However, any convincing evidence can rebut presumptions under Arizona Revised Statute §25-814(C) such as a court decree establishing paternity by another man.
Paternity declarations or acknowledgements must be entered into on an entirely voluntary basis, not based on coercion or under duress. Before they enter said agreement, each signer must know their options and the potential repercussions of signing the agreement because it is a life-long commitment, and after establishing paternity, both parents have the legal rights and duties to provide for their child.
When genetic testing is used, the testing must be done by a facility or lab that meets specific accreditation requirements.
In most cases, the affidavit of the testing laboratory is all that is required to establish legal paternity. A DNA test must confirm paternity with the same legal weight as a judgment. The parents must also agree to be bound by the paternity test findings when done by an accredited lab or facility.
Under ARS §25-812, unmarried parents can establish paternity by acknowledging it in notarized statements and by filing one of the following documents with a superior court or government agency:
Paternity is assumed in married persons if the child was born during the marriage or if the child was born no more than ten months after the marriage was dissolved in any manner.
If a husband believes the child is not biologically theirs, they can obtain genetic testing through an accredited lab if they wish, however, they can agree to be bound by the legal obligations and duties of that child through a voluntary declaration of paternity. In some instances a father might choose to do this if the child has other siblings of the marriage.
The man married to or who was married to the mother can offer his written consent to the other man’s establishment of fatherhood over the child if the child’s biological father files an acknowledgement establishing paternity. In all scenarios, the parents must consider what would be in the child’s best interests.
Paternity can be established through a contest in court to determine the legal father of a child born out of wedlock. To initiate paternity proceedings, a woman must file a verified petition stating that she has given birth to a child or children outside of a legal marriage, or she is carrying a child conceived outside of a lawful marriage, and that the respondent is the child’s father.
If the respondent was properly served and fails to file a response to the petition admitting paternity within the appropriate timeline (20 days after service if he was served within Arizona or 30 days if he was served outside Arizona), the court may enter a default judgment upholding paternity and a parenting plan can be established. After the court enters a paternity judgment, it will give current and possibly retroactive child support orders based on the father’s income information provided by the mother, or the mother may utilize the Department of Child Support Services for establishing and collecting support.
Old notions might have led people to believe that the courts are “pro-mom” and that only the mother will be seen as the primary caretaker, but that’s not the case anymore.
Courts are required to issue child custody, parenting time, and support rulings that are in the child’s best interests and will support their growth, development, and a healthy overall well-being. The presumption is that a child will benefit from having frequent communication and contact with both parents, rebutted only by clear and convincing evidence to the contrary.
Mothers and fathers have equal rights to contest paternity, and the court mustn’t give one parent priority or preference over the other based solely on gender. Because both parents have equal legal rights to obtain custody and support orders, they are both equally bound by those orders and can be equally punished for violating those orders.
In addition to giving the child permanence of family and support, establishing paternity is important because it can allow a child access to fundamental rights and benefits that they couldn’t otherwise collect from a person who isn’t a legal parent. These benefits include:
Establishing paternity and obtaining appropriate court orders for child custody, parenting time, and support safeguards each parent’s rights by:
A man who isn’t the biological father of a child can become the child’s legal parent if he demonstrates that he meets the legal criteria for this status. The court may recognize the non-biological father as a legal parent with full parental rights. As with any legal parent, the non-biological father will be responsible for making child support payments and keeping visitation commitments in case of a custody or support dispute.
Some common ways a non-biological parent can be a legal father include:
Some special considerations are made by the court when making any orders to bind a non-biological parent to the duties of a legal parent, including:
The biological father can challenge the non-biological father’s parental rights by filing a paternity claim in court. If the court decides to hear the matter, the biological father can provide arguments that support his objection, including test results that prove he’s the biological father and doesn’t wish to terminate his rights.
The court will consider all aspects of the child’s best interests which doesn’t guarantee the termination of the biological father’s rights or the granting of parental rights to the non-biological person.
Patternity claims are tricky and the applicable Arizona law is complex, but Tempe paternity lawyer Adriana Blanchette and her team at Blanchette Law PLLC will devise a strategy to help you advance your paternity claims.
In instances of domestic or family violence where paternity is at issue, the Arizona courts won’t terminate the alleged perpetrator’s parental rights, however the actions of domestic violence will be considered when issuing orders for child custody and visitation.
In all custody orders issued by the court, they must consider several factors which would ensure that the orders are in the child’s best interests. The court is unlikely to order joint custody in matters where domestic violence has occurred because doing so could subject the child to further emotional, mental, and/or physical abuse, which would not promote a safe and healthy upbringing for the child.
Whether you’re seeking to prove paternity and exercise your parental rights or contest a claim of paternity, Blanchette Law PLLC can help you. As a mother, Adriana Blanchette understands the emotional turmoil caused by legal actions on both parents and children.
To protect your rights and your child’s best interests in a paternity or child custody matter, call Blanchette Law PLLC at (602) 881-1748 to schedule a consultation.